Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Illegal aliens in France allowed to "Squat" in your empty building

Bon soir,
On a second visit last month to our favorite French restaurant in the French Antilles, my husband and the owner got into a conversation about Real Estate and tenant rights and the rights of illegal immigrants in France.
The conversation started out when I mentioned that American laws are so skewed towards the tenants. I recently had my first tenant in a newly renovated condominium paint it, re-stain the 70 year old hard wood floors, wall paper one of the bathrooms, put vinyl tiles up in the other bathroom and change out all the light fixtures. All totaled, 14 lease infractions. This tenant then, after only 5 months on a 2 year lease found a new tenant to replace him and left. I took him to court. The bottom line after spending $1200.00 on a lawyer was, I was able to keep his $1500.00 deposit and settled for $1000.00. My lawyer said I was extremely fortunate to have done so well.
The young French restaurant owner told us the most shocking truth I have heard in quite a while. In France, illegal immigrants may "Squat" in an empty building. If the landlord does not figure out the illegal "squatters" are living there within a very short period of time (weeks, not months), the illegal "squatters" can then live there forever and never have to pay rent. Ever. They must also be allowed to receive gas and electricity. French society is all about the "Rights" of the citizens. The common man. Even the illegal citizens.

Cash is now King in America just like in France, Yes?

Bonjour mes amies! Ca va? Last month, my husband and I were chatting with a young French owner of a fine restaurant in Marigot, St. Martin in the French Antilles. His comment "People in France do not go out and buy flat screened TV's on credit like the Americans do" sparked an even more interesting conversation.
He stated that French citizens and Europeans do not have access to credit cards like the Americans. He said the European societies run mostly on Cash because taxes are so high (about 60%). Yes, health care is "Free" as are many other types of Government programs and accessible to all citizens. He says: "successful citizens are quiet with their money. Europeans do not flaunt their money around and act as though they own everything, like the Americans."
One of our other young friends is saving to buy a restaurant in the Marigot Marina. Her husband is the chef and she waits on tables. During the busy Winter season, she hires 1 other waiter and they have 1 dishwasher. They probably sell 70-90 dinners per night. They are open 7 days a week. These folks work! They do not have any children. She says they cannot afford to have children yet. She tells us she keeps a cash box in her small, meager apartment, and states: "I save cash first for what I want to buy. If I do not have the cash, I wait and save more cash, because, I do not work for Carla."
Cash may become the new currency running under the tablecloths of American businesses if our taxes rise to European levels. Retirement at 65, or at all, may become what it was before Roosevelt implemented it, just an "American Dream." Bon chance et Au revoir, y'all.